Saudi Arabia Punishes Canada for Criticizing Human Rights Defenders' Arrests

Clay Curtis
August 8, 2018

Although Saudi Arabia is one of the world's top executioners, crucifixions where the body is put on display publicly are rare.

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia executed a man by crucifixion in the holy city of Mecca on Wednesday, while it was trying to attack Canada on its human rights record.

Still, Rai said the impact on the currency should be "ephemeral" as bilateral trade between Saudi Arabia and Canada is small.

Additionally, on Monday it was announced that "training, scholarships and fellowships" for Saudi students in Canada are now being shelved.

Since rising to power in 2015, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman has courted Western allies by offering to buy billions of dollars worth of arms.

Despite those ideals, however, the country has continued to take aggressive actions against some neighbours, and concerns about domestic human rights practices persist.

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Saudi Arabia, ruled by its interpretation of Islamic law, rarely carries out crucifixions, but capital punishment remains common.

The deal was agreed in 2014 by the Conservatives, who shared the Saudi desire for deeper relations, he said.

Another source said Canada would also seek help from Britain. Saudi Arabia's airline suspended flights to and from Canada, potentially complicating travel plans for Canada's Muslim population as the annual Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca approaches later in August. That will remove an estimated $2 billion in investment from Canada.

The Canadian currency dropped as much as 0.5 per cent to 76.21 USA cents after the Financial Times reported that the Saudi Arabia central bank and state pension funds have instructed their overseas asset managers to dispose of Canadian assets starting Tuesday. Meanwhile, support for the Saudi stand continues to grow. Canada's ambassador, Dennis Horak, is not in Riyadh.

Watch the Canadian dollar trade in real-time here. "A mistake has been made and a mistake should be corrected", Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir told a news conference in Riyadh. Last year, the kingdom also recalled its ambassador to Germany following a testy exchange with that country's foreign affairs minister over Saudi Arabia's military presence in Yemen.

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